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Biased Cyclical Electrical Field Flow Fractionation for Separation of Sub 50 nm Particles

Tasci, Tonguc O., Johnson, William P., Fernandez, Diego P., Manangon, Eliana, Gale, Bruce K.
Analytical chemistry 2013 v.85 no.23 pp. 11225-11232
electric field, fractionation, methodology, nanogold, nanoparticles
Cyclical electrical field flow fractionation (CyElFFF) is a technique for characterizing and separating nanoparticles based on their size and charge using cyclical electric fields. The high diffusion rate of nanoparticles has prevented CyElFFF from being applicable to particles smaller than 100 nm. In this work, the diffusion challenges associated with nanoparticles was resolved using biased cyclical electric fields. This new method, biased cyclical electrical field flow fractionation (BCyElFFF), achieves baseline separation of 15 and 40 nm gold nanoparticles. Theoretical considerations show that the optimal resolution is achieved when the applied bias yields electrical transport that counteracts the diffusive transport of nanoparticles. BCyElFFF greatly extends separation capabilities of the cyclical electrical field flow fractionation to sub 50 nm nanoparticles and provides a powerful alternative to other separation and characterization techniques capable of separating nanoparticles smaller than 50 nm.